The ever expanding solar setup

Part of our plan here has always to be entirely self sufficient in energy. That said, there is a huge pole and some wires that bring 11,000 volts to within 20 feet of the house, so despite our immediate thought ‘that pole has to go, its right in the way’, we realised that we could earn some money selling our surplus electricity back to the grid, and that perhaps the pole might not go entirely, but be moved out of sight.

Imagine our surprise then, when Northern Ireland Electricity told us that to move the pole 30 feet further away would cost SEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS.  We had been warned that it might be expensive (the NIE surveyor took great delight in letting us know that it wouldn’t be cheap) ,but still – SEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS. That was pretty much all I could say for a while. SEVEN THOUSAND BLOODY POUNDS?

Anyhow, after I’d calmed down a bit, I realised that the only answer was to tell NIE to go and poke their pole where the sun don’t shine, and go it alone, so ahead of that glorious day (they have to take it down at no cost to us, ironically), we’ve started expanding our solar capacity, and are considering connecting the wind turbine up to the house, although that requires a cable as thick as your arm and about as expensive as getting a new arm too.

So we are up to about 800watts now, and we’ll be over the kilowatt by Christmas, if all goes well. The other side of all these panels is the labyrinthine array of controllers that now line the walls of our not-under-stairs (we have no stairs, just a cupboard), cupboard.

Our PV controller collection

Our PV controller collection

Come the new year, and the lengthening days, we’ll be able to make the call, and wave goodbye to our highvoltage eyesore. Not a moment too soon either. SEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS. You see, there I go again.